12x21: it’s not all bad
This is a review of 12x21 that ends on a positive note.
I will expand further here why I think this episode was badly written and poorly executed, but did further the overall positive outlook for the season.
Important first impression:
- The overall season arc plot points (and therefore not written specifically by Bucklemming) were greatly moved forwards.
- The points that were just relevant to this episode and were painful, unnecessary and not even used well or referenced by the actual protagonists were all Bucklemming.
1. Eileen. Fucking Eileen, man.
She didn’t have to die. She didn’t have to die like that. She didn’t have to die like that and then have barely any real reaction from Sam and Dean about it.
Where was Sam’s textualised pain? Where was the Red Meat parallel of Dean having to console Sam? I know he looked a bit anguished but I’m putting this down to Jared and direction, not the writers.
However, I am going to give the smallest part of the benefit of the doubt and parallel this with Sam’s reaction to Dean about Cas, where Sam is all business and logic, trying to lessen the pain that way, rather than it being not caring.
BUT… how does this further Sam’s personal arc? He is supposed to be reconciling the hunting life and his previous want to get out? Killing off any friends and potential endgame love interests does this how? If I was Sam now after this as an example of the pain, I would want out NOW! NO MORE SAM AND DEAN HUNTING, SAVING PEOPLE, THE FAMILY BUSINESS. IT MAKES NO SENSE.
On top of this, after all the heavy Saileen/Destiel parallels written by the same writers and the theme of Dean opening up more and realising that emotions should be voiced, how does this further Dean’s arc of realising he should just tell Cas how he feels before it’s too late?
It was a massive opportunity WASTED for not just endgame Saileen but also how her death could have been a valid character development moment for both of them.
These are the only valid reasons Eileen should have been killed off - to be referenced in some way by the protagonists. Even Charlie’s unnecessary death was a lazily written ‘turning point’ for Dean’s MoC fall into Darkness. But instead we have…well, nothing really.
I hope the writers of the next episodes maybe pick up on it and it’s just a delayed reaction otherwise it is just such a waste.
Destiel side note: Yes I did see that Crowley called Cas their ‘love slave’. I would flail about this except as I was saying with @elizabethrobertajones yesterday, there is so much real Destiel fodder now it kind of is not that important. HOWEVER I stick to the fact that Lucifer has been inside Cas and canonically knows how he feels and Crowley also knows how they both feel. So I guess, small wins and all that.
Mary believes she used to have Free Will. Well, that hurts because we know it isn’t true (cupid).
BUT Mary prefers to die rather than kill innocents (yes, thank you, redemption arc). Mary cannot break out of the brainwashing when Dean pleads with her (thank you Cas 8x17 mirror - found family is stronger than blood family and all that).
Mary must have had an inkling but now it has been voiced on the show that : A. John was a child abuser and B. that Mary now knows.
We have all been waiting for this since 12x01 so YES good thank you. Plot line moved forwards.
Dean is going to confront her about Azazel in 12x22….Now I’m assuming she is either brainwashed and he is trying to jump her out of it with harsh words or she is out of it already and Dean is just so fucking DONE that it comes out. This will be so interesting I’m actually kind of sad they’re back to back so we won't have time to process what seems to be going to be an amazing episode character wise.
I mean, Chuck how lazy was that? “The polarity is reversed’. Jeez. Ok but, so Crowley is a rat, OK. Whatever.
Lucifer’s plot line though…
THIS IS THE BIG PLOT POINT FOR ME THAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT FROM THIS EPISODE:
Lucifer thinks he has won. He is on top of the world. “MY SON”.
Yes. Your son, who will be your downfall, who is the sunrise, who will bring the world to it’s feet (yes, again, sorry, I believe @amwritingmeta is totally right about this).
Who is being aided by your perfect mirror - the Fallen Angel who loves Humanity, while you hate it. Who doesn’t give a damn about God anymore, while you crave his attention. Who is constantly linked to the SUN.
I keep harping on that is time for Cas to be the Hero.
He was a hero as part of TFW in season 4 and in season 5, in season 6 he was the hero even though he thought he should lie to Sam and Dean to do so, in order to protect them (hello 12x19), yes he went behind their backs but he stopped the second apocalypse ON HIS OWN. Since then it is just one big ball of hazy messes on everyone’s sides, meanwhile Cas has been getting more depressed, suicidal and full of self doubt.
THIS IS HIS HERO ARC. This is the culmination of his self worth arc, his faith arc, his Humanity arc.
This child will restore balance but it will also help to restore Cas’s faith in himself and self worth through his CHOICE to help it and convince Sam and Dean of it.
There is a reason I think Cas seems brainwashed, because he is much more the old Castiel now than the broken shell that is Cas, not in terms of being brainwashed by Heaven etc but his self assurance and faith, while at the same time still being CAS.
We are always talking about Sam and Dean reconciling the different parts of themselves together, THIS IS IT FOR CAS.
This is the best that he can be and if this isn’t the case and he is brainwashed past the season finale then honestly I don’t even know what their endgame is other than to just kill all of TFW and their fans painfully.
So yeah, Cas is the hero. He will convince the boys of the righteous cause, they will be Team Free Will again.